I was meaning to review the stunning “Heavy Rain”, a Playstation3 exclusive as I completed one play-through, but thought I might compare it to another big social gaming favorite “Bubble Island” by Wooga on Facebook.

Let’s compare them on a couple of fronts, fully tossing away that this is an apples vs. oranges debate; indeed not a “fair fight”. Yet these are the two games I’m playing, so here goes nonetheless:

Graphics

Both are equally stunning. They occupy opposing ends of the spectrum stylistically yet are dead-on appropriate for both audiences. While Bubble Island is a candy-colored casual gamers delight enhanced with ultra-cute animations of the Raccoon host, “Heavy Rain” switches from candy colored to ominous browns and muted grays along with the story in an almost reverse “Wizard of Oz” fashion.

Both are masterpieces.

Gameplay

Bubble Island does not break any new ground here. It’s a copy of a game called Snood/Splume which has been around for awhile. Aim colored shapes and explode groups of the same color before the roof comes down on you, and you have the idea. It isn’t doing anything new, but what it does, it does very well. A game-changer for my own personal engagement that altered my way of thinking about the whole crop of Facebook games.

Heavy Rain for PlayStation 3 from French studio Quantic Dream was teased enough last year in the game blogs that I knew it would be a must-have from my point-of-view. A murder mystery that plays like a Hollywood style thriller that might star Morgan Freeman or Brad Pitt, it uses a lot of Quick Time Events and can result in several outcomes depending on choices you make.

Customer service

Here is where the two game experiences part ways, and was the compelling reason to write this post.

Having plateaued at a very difficult level, I finally reached a save point in the Bubble Island “Cave” stage. However, that save point required me to “Invite a Friend” in order to utilize it.

I had a problem with this. I was spending way too much time with this appealing game – but that was my choice. Reaching out to a friend or relative is not a disruption I’d like to cause, I’m a private single-player gamer, unless I’m playing co-op with my son or with others at a Rock Band party.

Since all Facebook games make links available to contact the developer, I filed a complaint. It seems the game penalized players, I stated my above reasons (and acted a little bratty, I’ll admit) and figured that was it – Game Over.

The next day the developer of Bubble Island, Wooga replied to my email, thanking me for playing, disclosing there would be an upcoming upgrade in a few months but most importantly: unlocked my save points so that I do not need to “Invite Friends” to continue enjoying their game.

I’ll say again: my game was tweaked to my liking by the developer (beyond all expectations) and I couldn’t be happier. Can you imagine a AAA console game dev doing that for one single player?

This is the start of something huge in gaming, make no mistake.